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March 8, 2007

Mike Anderson

Marshall Brown

Matt Lawrence


CHARLIE FISS: We are ready to begin with the Missouri Tigers. Our head coach, Mike Anderson, and his two student athletes, Marshall Brown and Matt Lawrence.
Coach, your thoughts on tonight's game?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: First of all, I always say when you get to this part of the year, it was about surviving and advancing. We did survive tonight. A lot of credit goes to a Baylor team that is steadily improving. They shot the ball extremely well. At the same time, I didn't think we came out with the energy that you got to have in order to guard players of that magnitude.
They had some quickness. They made some shots. You got to give them credit. I just didn't think -- we came out a little tight, and you can tell when you look at the stats, the starters shot 63%. I think that's a record this year, maybe in this tournament. They scored 97 points. That tells you getting into this setting I think maybe a little nerves were going. But at the same time, I didn't think we played the type of defense that has been typical of our basketball team all year long.
Let's give Baylor some credit. I think they are the team that's steadily improving. They shot the ball extremely well.

Q. Both players, just talk about what's going through your mind at the end of the first half, I think it was 18-5 run to close things out.
MATT LAWRENCE: Well, we knew that their guards were playing real well and we need to stay in front of the ball. Going into half time, we need to have adjustment and keep the ball in front of us.
With that kind of lead, I think we need to play with some reckless abandonment and scramble. We tried to but our guys, you know, they fought all the way to the end. You got to credit our guys.
They hit some shots today and their guards were pretty incredible.

Q. Both players, do you look at this game as kind of a missed opportunity for you with how everything went down tonight?
MARSHALL BROWN: It was definitely disappointing any time you get to a conference tournament. I felt like we were playing good basketball coming into it. I am disappointed the way we came out. I thought we came out of the second half and gave ourself a chance. We just couldn't finish it.

Q. After Jerrells' three-pointer at the end of the first half, how demoralizing was that after you cut it back to ten for him to hit that?
MARSHALL BROWN: He was in a groove. He was hot. He was hitting pretty much everything he threw up. That was kind of the way the game went. Going into the second half, I think we turned our defense up, turned pressure up and started playing the style of basketball we wanted. We just couldn't finish it.

Q. How much different was this Baylor team than the one you faced back in Columbia? What were the differences?
MARSHALL BROWN: I think it is pretty much the same team. They didn't have Aaron Bruce when we played them in Missouri. But I think their movement was great. Their space was great.
It also helps when you are knocking down shots.

Q. Mike, since you didn't have any guards up here, can you talk about your guard play and kind of their inability to kind of settle down Jerrells and Dugat?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: It was kind of shocking to me in terms of how we did defend. It is something we work on and something we talked about. I think that was the strength of Baylor's team, their perimeter guys.
We just played these guys three weeks ago. But as Marshall alluded to, they made shots. I just don't think our guys played one of their better games. I don't think they played well at all defensively.
Who knows why you know. I take the blame on that. I didn't get them ready enough in this particular setting. But I will do better, I promise you that.
But, again, it was kind of interesting just to see the expression on our guys' face even as we talked about the first and second time out. I just didn't think we were defending like we have all year long.
We have defended -- especially guys on the perimeter. But tonight for some reason, it seemed like we were a half step slow. We didn't have that energy.

Q. Mike, in conference play you guys have relied a lot on that matchup zone you like to use and kind of went away from that tonight. Was there something about Baylor's make-up that concerned you with playing the matchup zone?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: It didn't seem like we were playing anything else. We played the matchup, trying to mix it up. We didn't have the energy. We tried to scramble when we came back in the second half.
One thing about us, 13-point lead at half time, that's no big deal. We have been behind before. But it was one of those deals -- hills we had to climb. I thought we climbed back pretty good. We cut it to four. We even cut it to three.
So now you really got to dig in and make stops. We just weren't able to. And they made some tough shots. Even the shot he made -- Jerrells made at half time. As a player you have to understand they have that kind of range.
But we tried to play a lot of different defenses. It just didn't work tonight.

Q. Mike, do you have a sense of maybe your chances to keep on playing in the N.I.T.? Have you looked into that at all? Could you make a case for you guys to keep on playing?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: Absolutely. I think we've had a pretty good year. When you talk about day one with this basketball team to see where they are right now -- even as we start out in the Big 12, we started off 0-4, 2-6, there has been steady improvement.
From a coach's standpoint, you want your team to get better. You want players to get better. And I think as a whole, our team has gotten better.
If there is an opportunity for us to play in post-season play, which hopefully there is, we will continue because I think it would be great for this basketball team.

Q. Mike, you talked about day one. Can you assess your first season as coach and what your goals are for your second season? What you need to improve on?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I think coming in and trying to assess what we have, it is one thing to assess it when you are talking about working out and practicing and all that. Now that the season is going on, this team -- these guys have bought into what we're doing. They are trying their hardest.
They got better as the season went on, but you also get a chance to assess and evaluate them when you start playing nonconference, conference play. You find out a little bit more about your guys. One of the things I know we got to get, we got to get a little bit more tougher. Toughness is defined even from a defensive standpoint.
Overall, there was steady improvement. I think from a coach's standpoint, you could -- you don't mind that. I think we just got to -- hopefully, we can get some additions that will help our basketball team and some of these guys will be a whole lot better next year.

Q. With so many juniors returning for next year, what did you -- compared to what you thought at the beginning of the year, do you think this year was a success?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: Absolutely. I think when you talk about where this team came from to where it is now, these are some of the same guys that played last year. You got to remember that.
We added some guys. It is a brand-new basketball team. For these guys to amass 18 wins, and of course winning seven games in the Big 12, I think that's improvement.
I think if you want to call it being successful, I think these guys have. Who knows, they may still have some more basketball to play.

Q. Coach, going back to what you said about possibly having more basketball to play, how much tougher does it make this loss knowing that your team could have all but sealed up an N.I.T. bid with a win tonight?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I think, first of all, we are playing to the Big Dance. Everyone who comes in with an opportunity -- I always say the most important game is the first game. For some reason, I think the nerves got us caught up. That's what happens to a lot of teams, the nerves catching them in this particular setting.
But at the same time I think it was a good opportunity. This is a Baylor team that's steadily improving.
I got a feeling, I said it before, we are heading for something, I don't know what. Maybe that means going to the N.I.T. We'll see.

Q. Coach, having said that, with every team's goal being reaching the NCAA, how would you look at an N.I.T. bid concerning where this program has been and hasn't been in the N.I.T. in the past few years but not reaching that goal of the NCAA tournament?
COACH MIKE ANDERSON: I think, again, any post-season play with this basketball team is going to benefit. You got to remember this team here is a brand new -- if you look at my basketball team, they are all like freshman. When you talk about playing the up-tempo basketball and true to form, we looked like freshmen tonight. At the same time if they can continue to play in post-season play, they played in the conference tournament and maybe can play -- I think it will benefit us I think in the long run.
I think our -- my goal is to win a national championship.

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